Introduction to the Immune Response


Mary Chen

School of the Future, Manhattan

Summer Research Program for Science Teachers

Summer 2006


Goals / Objectives:

Through collaboration and imagination, students will be able to list the key components of the immune response as well as how each part interacts with the others.

Materials and Prep:

Tables in groups

Paper and drawing materials

Computers if available

Do Now:

What do you know about the different parts of the armed forces and how they aim to protect the country?




Discuss Do Now


  • List (or have student list) on board or chart paper the different parts of the armed forces, their roles, and why they are necessary.

(10 min)

Question: The school will be attacked later this week. Design a comprehensive plan to defend it. Be ready to present your plan in labeled visual and oral format.


  • Students work in groups of 4
  • Assign roles: 2 artists, 2 presenters
  • Circulate to ask questions about multiple facets in the designs, such as communication between different parts of the building, first and second lines of defense, contingency plans, weaponry, etc.

(20 min)




  • Use document camera to project drawings. Students present plan.
  • Class should critique plans for strong and weak points
  • Choose student to chart main points of each plan

(30 min, or 5 min / group)

Discussion and connection


  • What are commonalities in all of the plans?
  • Why are we discussing defense? What is the most important self-defense you engage in every day (you may not be aware of it)?

(5 min)



  • In labeled visual, story, or skit format, revise your group’s plan to include elements that you liked from your classmates’ plans. Write a brief summary to explain your plan

Connection to next lesson:

  • Through questioning and discussion students will draw connections between their defense plans and the immune system. Key concepts such as cell communication, the different types of white blood cells and their roles, and the concept of self /non-self will be emphasized.